Occupational diseases can cause workers to miss time on the job, and if serious enough, can keep workers permanently out of work. Employers are required to keep their workplace safe from hazards that can cause employees to become ill, but in some professions it’s unavoidable.
Not many workers realize that they can receive workers’ compensation benefits for contracting an illness or disease while on the job. Most people think of physical accidents with machinery or slip-and-falls when they hear workers’ compensation.
Some of the most common occupational diseases include the following:
– Loss of hearing or vision functions.
– Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by chemicals, toxic air or dust.
– Squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma or mesothelioma.
– Illnesses caused by chemicals.
– Eczema and other rashes.
– Carpal tunnel from repetitive movement.
– Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological disorders.
Occupational diseases can be prevented in the workplace as long the employer takes the proper steps. This includes making sure the office space is cleaned on a regular basis, proper hazardous materials signs are in place throughout and proper training is provided.
Any issues that arise in the workplace must be brought to the attention of a supervisor immediately. The longer the hazardous condition is present, the more likely it is an employee will become ill or develop a disease.
There are three kinds of reactions the body goes through when exposed to hazardous materials that can cause illnesses or diseases. These three reactions are immediate or acute, gradual and delayed. An immediate or acute reaction is one that happens the minute the worker is exposed to the hazard. A gradual reaction is one that happens over a period of days, weeks or months. A delayed reaction is one that happens over a span of months or years, such as a cancer or respiratory issue.